Editor's Comment

Bar owners should take it easy

COVID-19 is no longer a new phenomenon to mankind but its mutation since December 2019 when it started in Wuhan, China, is cause for worry.
Zambia, as one of the countries in southern Africa affected by the pandemic since March last year, knows very well how hard it has been to fight three waves of the disease with cases totalling 210,169 and 3,667 deaths.
Although the recoveries, which stood at 206,406 as at November 30, 2021, are encouraging, there is need for people not to lose focus on preventive measures as the country faces another challenge of dealing with an impending fourth wave coming in the form of a new variant called Omicron, discovered in South Africa.
It is no longer an issue of begging people to join the fight against the pandemic but everyone has the responsibility to get vaccinated so that the impact of the disease on communities is significantly reduced.
We commend Government for intensifying efforts to avert the spread of the disease by making available vaccines to people in areas which were least considered when the programme started early this year.
We ask citizens to ride on Government’s goodwill and follow all COVID preventive measures without attaching any misconceptions as the disease cuts across social strata.
It is a well-known fact that some of the restrictions imposed to fight the disease in the past have left many people jobless and without sources of income, but that should not be the reason for people to throw caution to the wind and choose to live their lives with reckless abandon.
The cries of bar and nightclub owners in view of the new regulations by Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo that all social joints should operate from 18:00 hours to 20:00 hours are justified but we have no choice at this stage.
As it has already been established, bars and nightclubs, just like markets and bus stations, are potentially fertile grounds for the disease to spread.
Bars and Night Clubs Owners Association of Zambia president Peter Mwale should not agitate his members to rise against Government over the decision to limit the number of operating hours but seek a win-win solution as a way of contribution to the fight against COVID-19.
It would be folly for stakeholders like bar owners to reduce the gains Government has recorded so far in fighting the disease. Life is more important, which is why if a person is sick, the doctor discourages him or her from drinking beer.
While it is appreciated that bars and nightclubs are a source of income for many Zambians and contribute to national coffers, it ought to be borne in everyone’s mind that we cannot negotiate with the deadly disease.
A number of options have been suggested by Government before to mitigate the effects of COVID in bars and nightclubs, but the very disorderly nature of the industry has called for drastic measures.
Bar and nightclub owners need to come up with convincing safeguard measures which will guarantee adherence to health measures even when people are inebriated.
We urge bar owners not to feel like they are sacrificial lambs when it comes to COVID restrictions because their industry is the most vulnerable.
Lessons have been learnt in the past on how the pandemic spreads quickly through social gatherings killing many people.
This restriction is not only for bar owners, but people who patronise these drinking places also have a duty to protect their families from contracting coronavirus by avoiding gatherings.
As it has been noted, there is no softer way of fighting COVID-19 because it thrives on people coming into contact with one another.
So, we once again urge the bar and nightclub owners not to go against Government’s decision but seek an amicable solution to their plight without compromising on the health of citizens.

Facebook Feed